Optional musical accompaniment to this post:
So it’s been a minute since I last updated you on the comings and goings at Anti-Hero Brewing. It’s been a busy year inside and outside of brewing. I spent a good portion of February in St. Croix soaking up as much of the sun that could penetrate my chest sweater. I’ve also managed to sneak in three brew days already this year. That may not sound impressive (I mean, it boils down – no pun intended – to one per month), but you have to remember that here in the Boston area we spend most of the winter in sub-freezing weather and under 3000 feet of snow (rough estimate). Thankfully, this year we’ve been #blessed with unseasonable warmth (but still plenty of snow). I usually only get two brew days, at best, in between 1/1 and 4/1 each year. I play catch-up in the warmer months.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I wanted to take a few minutes in-between a busy workday to reset on the blog. I’ve been doing this shit since March 23, 2013, and with my four year brewing and blogging anniversary coming up, I figured it’d be a good time to reflect.
Over the past four years this blog has taken on many different forms. It’s been a brewing log/journal, an occasionally beer review rag, and even briefly a poorly-worded indictment of Craft Beer Culture. That last one being the most read and most controversial. But it all started with a Mr. Beer Kit and a bad pun. As I bumbled and fumbled my way through brewing and blogging, I gradually learned from my mistakes (usually on the third or forth pass) and I’d like to think I’ve come a long way as a brewer (as a writer, I’m still dog-shit).
My love of homebrewing followed by my love of craft beer, and my like of blogging followed a love for writing and social media. I’ve had a few “personal” blogs over the years, but I largely entered the world of beer through Twitter and Untappd. I was one of the beta testers for the latter, and an early adopter of the former. My out-spoken opinions in-and-outside of craft beer garnered me slightly more attention than your average shit-poster, and I began attending craft beer events and meeting folks on the other side of the computer screen. I was a few years out of college and most of my friends had either moved away or lacked disposable income, so I did the hardest thing any adult can do: met new people.
I met beer writers, brewers, bar/beer managers, bartenders, and just regular old drunks. I told some of these people about this blog and some of them told other people. Some folks were polite and claimed they’d heard of it, which led to the tagline: “The Hill Farmstead of Beer Blogs,” because people kept telling me they “haven’t read it, but I’ve heard good things.” It was nice platitude, and it led to some dopes actually paying me to write for their websites.
All Aboard the Struggle-Bus
But I’ve never had a concise vision for this blog. I enjoyed reading other beer blogs and wanted to get in on the party. I created this blog to start a conversation, and I started that conversation like a drunk on the Red Line: by screaming loudly and profanely and seeing if anyone would engage me. And surprisingly, a lot of people did. I attribute this to the Pareto Principle as applied (inversely) to human decency: if 80% of people are assholes, that leaves 20% that are less-than-assholes (and maybe even nice!).
When I started sharing my journey into homebrewing, I purposefully did something different from what I’d seen on other beer blogs: I highlighted my failures. For example:
- First Homebrew: Mistakes and More Mistakes
- I’ve Made a Huge Mistake
- I’ve Been Sparging Completely Wrong
- Darkest Hour and the Hop Phoenix (about dumping a batch of beer for the first time)
- A Bad Day for Beer
Much like my teenage poetry, these were poorly constructed cries for help. I tried to present my mistakes in an entertaining way, because it helped me from getting discouraged with my new hobby and it seemed to be getting people to read and respond. Around this same time, I joined a homebrew club in nearby Weymouth: the Metro South Homebrew League aka The Mash Holes.
Homebrew Club or Beer Farts in a Confined Space
A few guys at my local homebrew shop decided to start a homebrew club right around the time I was looking for one to join. I happened to see a flyer at the shop, reached out to JD and was one of the ten or so guys at the first meeting. From there the club has grown to about 30-35 members, had 3-4 guys go on to work at professional breweries, and made the horrible mistake of electing me as their president/dictator.
It’s been a wild three years with the Mash Holes, and I’ve made more friends through this club than in any other way since college. For anyone considering joining a homebrew club: do it. For anyone considering starting a homebrew club: do it.
Four More Years?
I started this entry to just get back into the habit of blogging about my brewing. I just entered two beers into a local competition and had planned to talk about those, but as I realized that I was writing right around my 4-year anniversary, I got a little introspective. I well-and-truly love brewing. It may get lost some times in my tirades, frustrations, (copious) mistakes, and rantings but I fucking love doing this. And to all of you who have been a part of it – readers, commenters, fellow brewers, sponsors, Gregs – thank you.
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